Currently Geothermal Flooring is exclusive to our Leesburg Campus. Please see below for more information on Geothermal Flooring.
What is Geothermal?
Put quite simply geothermal is a method for heating and cooling a structure using the constant ground temperature. In reality the Earth is the world’s largest solar collector and at depths of roughly 5 feet below grade the Earth has stored enough energy to maintain about a 50 degree temperature year round. Geothermal heating and cooling utilizes a ‘ground source’ heat pump to either extract heat from the ground during the winter or reject heat into the ground during the summer.
One of the simplest comparison’s for a geothermal unit is, it is like your refrigerator – in the summer you are standing inside of the refrigerator, and in the winter you are standing in front of the refrigerator - where you usually feel the warm air coming out at the bottom.
How Does Geothermal Work?
A ground source heat pump – or geothermal system- is nothing more than a series of interconnecting loops that work on the principle of the 2nd law of thermodynamics –‘Heat moves to Cold”
Ground Loop - This ‘loop’ consists of piping buried in the ground in some manner. It can be vertically (bore holes), or horizontally (slinky loops), or even thrown in the bottom of a pond. A Water and Anti-freeze solution is circulated through the piping, through the use of typically 1 or 2 small circulatory pumps. The fluid that passes through this piping is either much colder than the ground temperature in the winter (as the heat has just been removed the fluid inside the geothermal unit) or much warmer than the ground temperature in the summer (as the heat has just been added to the fluid inside the geothermal unit). If the fluid is colder than the ground then the heat from the ground is transferred into the fluid, if the fluid is much warmer than the ground then the heat from the fluid is transferred into the ground. Ground loops may be installed in either a pressurized or a non-pressurized configuration.
NOTE: Open Loop Systems and Direct Exchange Systems see below.
Refrigerant Loop - The fluid that has been circulated through the ground is now brought into the structure and into the geothermal unit. The fluid is now run through what is called a coaxial coil – this is nothing more than a tube inside of a tube. While the fluid that has been circulated through the ground is passing through one of the tubes, refrigerant (technically now R410a, generically ‘freon’) is passed through the other tube. Again the principle of the second law of the thermodynamics is utilized. The refrigerant is at either a much lower temperature (having just had its heat energy removed) than the fluid and id therefore able to absorb the heat from the fluid, or is at a much greater temperature than the fluid (having just had heat energy added to it) and is therefore able to reject its heat into the fluid.
To make it simple, this refrigerant essentially has a very low boiling point, and therefore even when heated to just the 55 degree of so fluid coming in from having circulated through the ground, it is able to turn into a vapor. Once the refrigerant has changed states it is run through a compressor and then becomes a ‘hot gas.’
Distribution Loop – Once the ground has heated the fluid, the fluid has heated the refrigerant, the refrigerant has changed state and been compressed the refrigerant is then passed through a heat exchanger of some sort. If this is going into forced air distribution then it is passed through an air coil, that looks much like the radiator in your car. If it is a water distribution system then it is passed through another coaxial coil heat exchanger. In the forced air system a blower is used to pull air from the house, and run it over the air coil, thereby absorbing heat from the coil or if the coil is colder than the air passing over it , the coil and subsequently the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air, then the ‘conditioned’ air is blown throughout the house. The same principle applies to the water to water unit applications.
Summary - Fluid passing in the loop in the ground extracts heat from or rejects heat into the ground, refrigerant loop extracts heat from or rejects heat into the fluid in the ground loop, compressor section, changes state of refrigerant, distribution loop extracts heat from or rejects heat into the refrigerant loop, and then sends the heat out to the house or is extracting the heat from the house. (Source:
Sugarland Learning Academy's Geothermal Flooring was installed and constructed by Fuog Interbuild. For more information about installation please visit: